Posts Tagged ‘massachusetts senate’

Stop Shouting: Gomez attacks Markey

June 13, 2013

Well this just isn’t working:

I know the intent, but it just isn’t working.

It was done better here:

and here:

With the Lamont & Steele ads the tone is fun and light, the Gomez ad almost feels angry to me. There’s a tone deaf quality here, like they can’t hear what they’re how loud they’re shouting.

On top of that, they cram too many details into the tail end of the ad. Isn’t it enough to say, “Ed Markey is everything that’s wrong with congress…” and leave that as the message?

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A contrast in styles

September 26, 2012

A couple more quick reviews today. A friend passed this West Wing reunion along:

It’s pretty clever, and actually does a good job of conveying some important information without sounding too political. Some of that is the format, a lot of that is good acting. It’s really amazing what good actors can do, the “bio” section of the video is really well done without too much fanfare.  It’s logs in at a little over four minutes, but doesn’t feel overly long. Makes me miss the West Wing too.

Next up another appearance for Elizabeth Warren. I think the script is pretty good hear, it’s conversational and common sense. It’s the kind of explanation you don’t hear a lot of in politics, straight forward, no spin, and it makes sense. My real problem with this ad is how stark it looks. It looks like a response ad from the 90’s shot on piss poor betacam. It’s flat and ugly. I understand that it might have been thrown together quickly, but surprised at how bad it looks given the ubiquitousness of quality cameras — especially in the Boston area.

I keep thinking the starkness was a deliberate choice, especially given the fact that there’s no music, but whether is a choice or not (Boris would say, “Your work is on the screen”) it’s unfortunate. Does it matter, maybe maybe not, but I think if the ad looked a little bit better it would be a home run, even looking pretty flat and dark, it’s a good spot because the message is right on.

Is it what you say or how you say it?

November 15, 2011

I watched this ad yesterday, the latest salvo in the Massachusetts senate race, and I knew I wanted to comment about it.  Watching it again today, it’s amazing how much I forgot about it, ok I’ll get to that later.

What I responded to in this ad was the message, Warren is unapologetically saying she’s a crusader against Wall Street, and she’s going to fight for the 99%.  What’s interesting is that she does it (unlike me) deliberately without invoking the language of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Of course, you all remember Crossroads GPS just attacked her for her liberal extremism as the intellectual underpinnings of that protest movement.

What I think Warren does successfully here is embrace the message without embracing the messenger.  She doesn’t run from who she is or her record, she doesn’t defend herself “before you hear a bunch of ridiculous attack ads” (which of course have already started), but rather issues a forceful statement of principles and values.

Alright, that’s 130 or so words in praise of this ad. When I first started this blog, I broke my reviews up into a form grade and a function grade, while I found that format too constraining and not ultimately helpful, I think it’s instructive here.  The function of this ad would be an A-, the form, on the other hand, being generous would be a C.

What I remember from the ad was the message: Warren fights Wall Street, which is a pretty good summation, but loses all of the detail and texture of the message. I loved the archival pictures, so vivid, but the text is kind of flat and at times falls into political cliche. The taking on the powerful interests message was lost on me until I re-watched the ad, her story had drifted away.

For a candidate who has capture so much support and excitement of voters, her delivery is alright, but not especially compelling. Was a scripted ad read off a teleprompter the best way to go here? I’ve never heard her speak, but I can’t help but think an interview ad going over the same message points, but spoken spontaneously would capture more of the real Warren. Here, I feel like I’m watching a candidate speak, the ad is well executed for what it is, but it’s not compelling in the least.

Warren wants to tell us who she is, but I feel watching this ad that she’s hiding behind a teleprompter and words written by a political consultant. I want more from her than this ad gives.

Again, maybe that’s not fair, maybe she stinks in an interview, but what the ad gives in message is lost in authenticity. (Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t believe Warren, I just don’t connect to her.)

If you averaged my earlier form grade C with the function grade A-, you end up about a B, and that’s where I’d put the ad, B/B-. It’s not a bad opening ad, certainly serviceable, but this blog isn’t about serviceable ads.  I’ve only really read about Warren in the book “Confidence Men,” by Ron Suskind, but she comes off as a compelling and intriguing figure there.  I can understand the excitement about her campaign, because I felt it too just from the little she’s in the book, she seemed genuine and passionate.

I don’t get that feeling here, or maybe I do, but it’s diluted.  Am I less excited about Warren now, no, but I’m a believer after all, am I more excited, not really. At the end of the day, this isn’t a bad ad, it’s right where it needs to be message wise, but I just felt the pieces were there for a great ad.

Battleground Massachusetts

November 10, 2011

Came across this ad running against Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts by Crossroads GPS, and while I’m not sure I have a lot to say about it, I wanted to comment on it anyway.

Execution wise, there is nothing particularly interesting about the ad.  What attracted me to it was the message.

Step 1: State the problem — no jobs, ok, I’m with you so far…

Step 2: Attack Elizabeth Warren for not focusing on jobs…, and siding with Occupy Wall Street.

Maybe they have some polling that shows this to be a good strategy.  I’ve said before Massachusetts is more blue collar Democrat than lefty liberal Democrat. But I see reveal problems with the approach:

First Warren isn’t even in elected office, so hitting her on jobs seems problematic at best, and at worse, it raises the issue for Senator Scott Brown, who has just voted against fairly popular job’s bill.

Second, the shots of Occupy Wall Street are so fast, you really don’t see the “drug use” and the attacking police shot, looks like police are attacking the protestors (on top of the stories of police abuse of protestors that have become youtube hits). Again it looks like you’re undermining your own cause there.

Third, the heavy handed language feels like something out of the 60’s not the 10’s. “We need jobs, not intellectual theories and radical protests,” wow, hell I would even agree with that, but what the heck does it mean?  Put another way, who is this add aimed at? To my ear it’s aimed at Tea Party members trying to shore up the base, but I wonder would they ever vote for Warren.

So if the ad is more likely aimed at middle class/blue collar independents, who typically vote Democrat, but swung to Brown last election, then I think it’s mis-calibrated. The language is too harsh and steeped in conservative lexicon (intellectual theories, radical protests, extreme left protests), it’s like their so inside their own bubble, they can’t put themselves inside some else’s head.

I may be wrong, but I think most independents see Occupy Wall Street somewhat favorably, even if they’re unsure about them. This ad leaves no place for them to go, pushing the extreme liberal angle so hard, that I can’t help but feel like folks would reject it out of hand.

If this is the attack they want to make, I think a softer touch would be more effective:  Link Warren to Occupy Wall Street and hint at their extreme nature (maybe mention the name with visuals of the protestors acting up), and let folks fill in the blank.  Maybe the best description of this ad is tone deaf. If this is how Crossroads GPS is going to spend it’s mountain of cash this election season, Democrats can breath a sigh of relief.

[Post-Script] The other problem with this ad it’s way to easy to deflect the attack. In this case, done particularly eloquently by David Donnelly, the director of the watchdog group Campaign Money Watch, “This is an ad by the one percent, for the one percent.”

Also worth a read is Greg Sargent’s post which debunks the truthfulness of the ad and specifically the Schoen Poll cited in the ad.

 

 

 

 

 

So it’s been a while

October 27, 2011

Yes it has. Sorry for the long absence, as usual with the absences this one was due to not really having anything to write about. That’s not the same as not seeing a lot of ads, there have been some, including the Rick Perry ad that looks like the Tim Pawlenty ads, that looks like “Armageddon.” No, I just felt like I didn’t have anything new to say. Today, I’m not sure if I’m adding to the conversation or not, but it’s time to get back on the wagon with this ad from the League of Conservation voters:

Why did I chose this ad? I actually think it’s clever in the way it takes on Scott Brown’s hometown boy done good image, inverting everything from his barn jacket to his pickup truck.  I especially like the first scene where the barn jacket comes off and he’s wearing the power suit underneath that’s a nice touch.

I also like the oil smear graphics, even though I think they’re prettied than they are effective. Frankly, the only CG that sunk in the first time I watched it was the last one, that he got a 0% from the League on his voting record. It makes me wonder if they even needed the first two CG’s at all.

Here’s what’s interesting about this ad, and who I wanted to write about it: while I like the elements of it, I’m not sure how effective an ad it is overall. Somehow the pieces don’t all add up, not sure whether it’s the tone or the execution, but it feels political rather than organic — like somehow you can see the puppet master, instead of watching the puppets.

Still, I think this is the right approach to take with Brown, go after his man of the people persona, try to take out his strength, and put him on the defensive. If the public sees him as another politician or a Republican (though Massachusetts isn’t as liberal as most people believe), then it takes out the rationale for his candidacy.

It’s a tough position, to be running against Washington, when you’re in Washington. More about that tomorrow.

 

Massachusetts Senate

January 15, 2010

I’ve avoided talking about the Massachusetts senate race mostly because the ads have been pretty boring or at least not very interesting.  This week has been slow, and I’ve been desperately trying to find something to write about, so I resolved to look over the ads in what seems to be a tightening race.

I was surprised to find this one:

It’s short on issues (“someone who’s going to lower your taxes”) and long on character and personality.  Interesting choice given how late in the campaign it is.  Usually you’re hammering your opponent or giving voters a laundry list of reasons to vote for you, of both.

I like this spot, and I think it’s effective, though I’m not working on this race, and I can’t prove it.  If my only exposure to Scott Brown was from this ad, I’d like him, think he’s a local, he seems to get it, he seems like a real person.

When I watch the Martha Coakley ads I don’t get that sense — she feels so polished, like a typical politician.

Watch her most recent positive ad which features Senator Kenndy’s widow:

Other than the emotional value of Vicki Kennedy, the ad is about as flat and dull as can be.

With all the media rushing to make national trends, it’s easy to forget that campaigns matter and the ads you put on the air matter.

If I were looking just at these ads, I’d vote for Scott Brown too.


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